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any reliable ph soil test kits?

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by mrkosar, Mar 12, 2006.

  1. NattyLawn

    NattyLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,643

    Get a soil test! You bag them up and send them in and get a correct soil analysis. The customer pays for them, and then you can adjust your program from there with fert, soil amendments etc...There's so much more than PH...
     
  2. Rayholio

    Rayholio LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,461

    must be a common misconception.. PH is al that anyone ever talks about..
     
  3. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,342

    You can have a pH of 7.0 and still have a calcium deficiency, you can have a pH of 8 or 9 and still have a calcium deficency. Calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium all will raise the soil ph and calcium has the least effect of those 4 cation's. Doing a Ph test only tells you what your ph is, not how to correct it. If your soil pH is high because of potassium and sodium, you need lime to raise the calcium levels and help leach out the high sodium and potassium. If your soil ph is high because of to much magnesium, you need calcium and sulfur to lower the magnesium levels. A pH meter doesnot tell you whether you need to lime or not. Like Norm al says, it just makes you, and the home owner, feel warm and fuzzy.
     
  4. nocutting

    nocutting LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 530

    LaMottes gives you everything, N-P-K,other macros, micros, organic matter, humic acid, soluable .....each kit can also be upgraded to exactly what you need....its great not haveing to wait a few weeks for the co-op. extension or lesco:cry:
     
  5. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,342

    The lamotte tests are interesting but I am not sure just how reliable they are. Cant tell from reading their website.( and I didnt read all the pdf's they gave) It looks to me that they are testing and recommending materials based on Lbs or PPM. This isnt totally correct if your are trying to improve your soils fertility. For instance, P has shown to become locked up and unavailable to the plants in as little as 8 days in ideal conditions and 4 days in less than ideal conditions. The P is still there and the test results will show that it is still there, it just isnt available to the plant. Test that show results in total nutrients dont necessary tell you that those nutrients are available to the plants. Percent is more reliable than lbs, lbs just tell you how much it takes to get there. At any rate, I would consider the AST15, http://www.biconet.com/testing/ast.html , instead of the cheaper version, isnt but $200 higher and it checks for more micronutrients than the other versions.
     
  6. lawnguy26

    lawnguy26 LawnSite Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 208


    You must not have many oaks or pines down there. We have many communties around here that have large numbers of old oaks in the yards. Not as many now after the hurricanes. :) Even still, a lot of acidic soils around those neighborhooods.

    As far doing a complete analysis. I've seen tens of hundreds soil analysis from this area and there all pretty much the same. Calcium levels optimum, Magnesuim levels low. Sodium is not tested. Of course NPK are always low. Dolomite is the norm around here for raising pH.
     
  7. trying 2b organic

    trying 2b organic LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 566

    I have sold many a lawncare program by being the only one to pull out a 200 $ Kelway tester. Originally I wanted it cause i really cared about the turf. Now I realize how important it is for a professional appearance and selling services.

    Here in the PNW all lawns need lime. Need proof? Just have a look here sir. :canadaflag:
     
  8. chriscraft

    chriscraft LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 390

    We are a lawn maintenance company mainly but i find this all very interesting esp about the ph making the homeowner happy. and as for the pines a i agree we do basix testing for seeding and rennovating and we tremendous amts of pines and arborvites in the midwest. a ph meter is critical when expalining to customers why there is no grass groinf near the arbovite line or under pine trees. we need ot explain that to bring up th ph b4 we seed. this way way we can jsutify appplying lime or gypsum. and thanks mud for explaining the diff about calcium sodium, potassium. and magnesium.
     
  9. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,342

    The Lamotte test kit I listed would be very benefitual to someone going totally organic. Most organic compost are lacking in the very nutrients that they are supposed to be replacing in the soil. Without sending the compost material to a test lab, you are only guessing at the amount of actual nutrients you are getting in your manures and composted litter. Now supposed you could walkup to your local compost store and pull a sample of compost and test it the same way you would a soil. You would know right then if you where getting the P/K as well as calcium and sulfur and other micro nutrients that you are needing to get your lawn or garden in shape. It would take a little math but once you new how much and which nutrients your compost contained, you could then figure out how much you actually need to build your soil. You could also mix and match different compost sources until you got the perfect mix that your soils need and never have to buy chemical or bridge products again. Most nutrients in composted materials are root acid soluible and easily converted by the micro's as well as the plant exudates to forms the plant can actually use. Chemical fertiliers and even rock sources of nutrients take much longer to be converted to plant usable sources. mInerals that have already been plant processed are much easier for the plant to convert to food. Anyways, I am just thinking out loud.
     
  10. ProMo

    ProMo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,468

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